The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) calls for fairer ways to evaluate researchers and scholarly outputs.
Scientific contributions come in many forms and from many places, and not all end up in the pages of prestigious academic journals.
Yet researchers are often funded, hired and promoted based on whether they publish in journals that score high on Journal Impact Factor, an imperfect measure of a journal’s quality.
A growing segment of the research community argues that relying on metrics like Journal Impact Factor paints an incomplete picture of scholarly impact and risks leaving some researchers behind. More than 21,000 researchers and organizations from 158 countries have signed The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which seeks to improve how research is evaluated, and now OICR is among them.
“OICR signed DORA because we support the principles behind it, including assessing research on its own merits and considering broader ways to measure impact,” says Rebecca Tamarchak, Senior Director of Strategy and Governance at OICR.
The DORA declaration recommends eliminating the use of journal-based metrics when evaluating research, and judging papers on their scientific content instead of where they are published. DORA suggests that institutions have clear criteria for hiring and promotion decisions that look beyond publication metrics, especially in the case of early career researchers.
The declaration also recommends institutions capitalize on new opportunities created by online publishing, and explore ways to measure other forms of impact, including influence on policy and practice.
Tamarchak says these recommendations are very consistent with OICR’s current measures of research impact, but OICR is always aiming to improve its processes.
“We are evaluating our current funding guidelines and processes to ensure we are implementing best practices in alignment with DORA,” she says.
Find out more about the DORA declaration.